Elijah the Tishbite Destroys Prophets of Baal

Prophet’s Name: Elijah the Tishbite
Miracles performed: Stopping the rain, raising a boy from the dead, Prophecy
Most Noted for: Defeating the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.
Era Served: Reign of Ahab and Ahazia (Ahab’s son) in the northern kingdom of Israel.

Elijah was easily the most prolific prophet since Moses, in term of national prominence and miracles performed. He appeared out of nowhere and directly challenged the wickedness of King Ahab and his Baal worshipping wife, Jezebel (yes, this is where the pejorative use of the name comes from).

How wicked were Ahab and Jezebel?

1 Kings 16:30-33 – Ahab worshipped Baal (a fertility god to which sexual and human sacrificial rites were performed) and did more evil in the sight of God than all the kings before him.

Kings 21:5-16 – Jezebel killed Naboth so that she could give his vineyard to Ahab and imprisoned or killed as many prophets of the Lord as she could. (1 Kings 18:4)

As the story goes, God sent Elijah to Ahab to tell him that because of his wckedness, it would not rain until Elijah gave the word. He didn’t give the word for three years and it culminated in one of the most dramatic displays of God’s sovereignty.

Elijah requests that Ahab gather all the people and the prophets of Baal on Mt.Carmel for a contest (1 Kings 18:19). The terms were simple: whichever god consumed a sacrifice laid upon an altar would win and be worshipped as God. It was God and Elijah vs. Baal and 450 prophets for the souls of Israel. Elijah let the 45 pray first. The bible says that they cried out for Baal to consume the meat laid upon the altar but there was no answer. They danced and cut themselves. All the while Elijah mocked their foolishness from morning until the evening when he finally put a stop to their vain attempts and declared it was his turn.

Elijah repaired the altar of God which had broken from neglect. He poured 12 barrels of water on it. He also filled a trench that surrounded the altar with water and then he prayed.

1 Kings 18:37-39 “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou are the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

Afterwards Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed.

This was a great victory, but Elijah soon found himself running for his life as Jezebel sought to kill him. He felt alone and isolated. It was at this low point that God told him of the seven thousand that he had reserved for Himself who had not bowed a knee to Baal.

Often after great victories we find ourselves in low, dark places, but take heart. God is sovereign and He is still in control.



One Response to “Elijah the Tishbite Destroys Prophets of Baal”

  1. dnewman Says:

    One of my favorite readings in the bible. The end of this is a true testament of the world we are in now and that we should rely on God more than ever. How Elijah mocks them is hysterical. Keep up the good work.

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